How to Balance Soils

Overview

Soil care isn't just about water. Having the correct amount of nutrients in your soil makes plants healthier. When adding ammonium to soil, you are adding acidity, and when there is a lack of ammonium in the soil, the soil is considered alkaline. Both ends of this scale can be dangerous to your plants' health. Getting a good balance of nutrients requires measuring the soil's pH and adding the right nutrients to make the soil neutral.

Balance Soil

Step 1

Collect soil samples from several areas of your garden, making sure to collect a sample from every area where the dirt feels or looks different.

Step 2

Place your soil samples into airtight containers, keeping each sample separate, and seal it using tape.

Step 3

Send or take the samples to your local USDA County Extension Service. Services will be able to tell you the make up of your soil, as well as the pH level.

Step 4

Lower the pH of your soil (if it is too high) by adding sphagnum peat to the soil according to the university recommendations. Consult your product's packaging for the correct application measures.

Step 5

Add lime to soil that is acidic to raise the pH level if it is low, according to the recommendation of the sampling lab.

Things You'll Need

  • Air-tight container
  • Spade
  • Water
  • Sphagnum peat
  • Lime

References

  • Washington State University: Soil pH, Fertilizers and Lime
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Building Healthy Soil
  • Improve Your Garden: Soil pH/Soil Acidity
Keywords: soil pH, balance soil, alkaline acidic soil

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.